If you're from the RX7 Forum you know me as The Beast from the East, which is what I call my track only 3rd gen RX7. In early August, after calling Warren at RacingBrake and discussing his newest XT970 pad formula for the front and XT960 for the rear at length, I purchased and installed the RB BBK front system and rear OEM upgrade for my track only RX7 with these newly released pads. I was a bit leary to try to do it just one week before heading for a 3 day outing at Thunderhill, but was able to complete the install myself in one day without much incident.
I made this decision because I knew my brakes were the next thing to reach thier limit on the car. For those not familiar with my setup, it's a fully gutted and caged car, with a modified 13BRE Cosmo motor and T04S turbo generating between 380 rwhp at 14 lbs of boost to 450 rwhp at 18 lbs of boost. I had just rebuilt the turbo from the prior season's failure, and also installed a full containment Kirkey seat, 6 point Jet Pilot harness, and Sparco 330 mm wheel with quick disconnect system on it. Up until that point the limiting factor of the car was the stock seat - I could not go faster because I was being thrown from the seat, it took everything I had to hold myself to the seat. My best time with this setup was 2:17. I knew that my brakes, which were stock OEM Brembo replacement rotors with Porterfiled RS4 full race pads would not be able to take the punishment of being able to go faster into corners.
The Install -
The install instructions provided by Racing Brake are a bit generic vs. tailored to your specific car, which is understandable and has been my experience with all aftermarket parts for my car. It's difficult for a small company like Racing Brake to develop complete step by step instructions for a small run production car like the 3rd gen, knowing that people could modify them in any number of ways and that they won't get a ton or orders to make this a huge money maker. Anyone who ever buys a product like this that thinks it will just bolt on without any thought is fooling themselves. What I did was use the basic written instructions supplimented by the install writeup on the RB tech tips page for the G35. It's close enough. And for God's sake, people, invest in a f'ing torque wrench and do things right. This is mostly aluminum we're working with, and "crank it 'till it won't turn anymore" doesn't work. If you're going to pay $4k for brakes, spend the $200 to have the right tools for the job. This includes a torque wrench, and micro torque wrench, and a good set of Allen wrench sockets that you can use on the metric hex head connectors that come with the kit. I recommend the Titan set from www.thetoolwarehouse.com
, I used it for this and originally bought it to work on my FJR1300 motorcycle. Very handy, very inexpensive for the quality of the set. Using a hex key set isn't going to work, you can't check torque that way or generate enough torque to get to spec.
The install worked precisely as outlined in the basic write up and G35 step by step page, with the following notations:
First impressions - damn this shit is pretty. All the connectors are top notch grade 10, this is serious hardware. Fondle it for a while, and take photos of your new parts sitting next to your old parts, you'll see the difference and start to get excited about getting the job done.
As you go - TEST FIT EVERYTHING. This is standard practice for any time you bolt up non-OEM products. Don't just start putting it together and torquing everything to spec immediately before you add the next part. You never know if you've missed a spacer or part that then you have to later go back and install...and now you've tightened everything and it's that much harder to take apart and put back together.
1 - There are 4 aluminum washers/spacers that are included with this specific kit for this specific car. There are no directions on how to use them. They are to be used on the upper and lower bolts that hold the caliper bracket extention to the spindle. If you do not use them as spacers, the bolts protrude too far into the space that the rotor occupies and will rub against the inside rotor face. How did I find this out? TEST FITTING FIRST - once I had it all together I rotated the system loose fitted without the wheel, and the bolt was rubbing against the inside of the rotor. After thinking I'd have to make my own spacer, I saw the 4 shiny spacers in the package and the light bulb went on.
2 - The front stainless steel brake lines are too short to install using the stock routing path from the hardline that is against the inner fender well, around the front of the shock tower, through the bracket on the spindle, then to the back side of the caliper. Warren and I went round and round on this, he thinks there is something special about my setup but there isn't, I only have Ground Control's AD coilovers installed and nothing else on the suspension is different than stock (Mazdaspeed upgraded bushings don't count). Bottom line, you can install the new lines using the stock routing path but there is not enough slack to allow you to go full lock on the steering wheel without having too much tension on the line against the front body wall of the shock. I ended up having to route the lines BEHIND the shock body, and just let them float loosely between the fender hard line attachment and the banjo fitting attachment on the caliper. Also, the hex head fitting ends are NOT a symetrical hex, one corder is slightly rounded to that it locks in to the slightly rounded depression on the inner fender bracket. Make sure you get them mated correctly or it won't fit snugly.
3- in the event that I can convince Warren to make his front lines 2"" longer, and you can then use the stock routing path, you will need to dremel out the mounting bracket that is attached to the spindle just a tad in oder for the banjo end to slide through the opening. It's about 1mm total bigger in outer diameter than the inner diameter of the bracket hole. Again, it has the same asymetric hex head attachment to the bracket, make sure you have it lined up so it seats correctly.
4 - Don't bother trying to save your dust shields, at least if you're doing a track only car. At first I tried to just snip the edges and bend them outward, but after a while they became too much of a PITA and and I just used my tin snips and cut them off. Not worth pulling the spindle to remove them gracefully, esp when you see #5.
5 - Don't bother with ducting. That's a hard one for many racers to take - brake cooling and ducting has been so ingrained into the psyche of racers. Racing Brake's rotors are designed to run HOT, and the hotter they get, the better they work (see Putting the Product to Use below). The only thing I can think of to cool is your brake lines to keep fluid temps low. Don't worry about the rotors, they are tough as nails and trying to cool them may actually lead to degraded performance.
Those are the only gotchas on this, which for non-OEM equipment is pretty awesome in my book. I've had to break out torches and welders and do all sorts of fabrication for other 'bolt on upgrades.' If you've been doing this a while, you'll understand the somewhat grandious claims of other aftermarket vendors.
For some reason the Forum isn't allowing me to upload pics of the installed brakes, I'll see if I can add them later since I just created this account.
Putting the Product to Use -
First you need to bed the brakes using the instructions. If you are using the XT pads like me, you need to use the Motorsports break in procedures, not the ET break in procedure. That's jumping on the brakes from over 80 mph and slowing the car, then going on a ways and doing it again about 8 times. You may has a deserted section of road you can use if your car is still street legal, but if you have a track only car like me, plan on going last in your first session at the track since you'll look like an erratic driver when you do it and freak out the other drivers if you are ahead of them, and pull out of your session early to let the brakes cool down for 15 or 20 minutes or until your next session. Then, it's flogging time.
I'm embarrased to say that the first session I really jumped on these brakes hard, which was coming up the hill into turn 9 of Thunderhill, I had to get back on the gas to get to my turning point. I had started with my old braking point, and these stopped me so fast that I had to get back on the gas by the last brake marker to get to the apex. I then begain to recalibrate all my break points over the next two days. I was on BFG Gforce R1s that had 30 heat cycles on them and were over 4 years old, so these tires where not the grippiest, but was able to immediately run 2:12s without really trying hard since I was a bit leary of my tires.
These brakes are like being in the sack with a submissive - they want it HARDER, HOTTER, and over and over until it hurts. I flogged these brakes, my ABS was on hard for every turn, and they were rock steady, with consistant characteristics. I run ATBSuperBlue fluid, which is good but not the highest boiling point brake fluid, and I had no issues. I also didn't bleed the brakes once except for after the inital install.
With new tires and more experience, I know I can go another brake marker deeper before needing these brakes, I just have to learn to trust they will be there.
I have yet to pull the wheels and give the system a close examination - when I got home it was late and too dark to see clearly, so I just washed the wheels and put her to bed. There is very little dusting with these pads and it's not near as caustic as Hawk's stuff, you can tell right away. The next morning I looked at the pads through my wheels and they didn't even look used. I may have some small desposits on the front rotors, I still think I'm not hitting the brakes hard enough or I may not have quite gotten the bedding process right. I have to send the pics to Warren and see what he thinks. The back rotors are super clean and look perfect, the XT960 pad is just right for the rears.
I only recommend the XT970s for the die hard racer, the Xt960s are likely ok for the occasional track/street. Great bite and feel, consistant lap over lap, and durable considering how they are being used.
I'll load up some photos once I figure out why this forum editor is being pissy about my using the Attachments feature.